This Town Was Abandoned Due To An Underground Fire – And It’s Been Burning Ever Since 1962

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Image: via Offroaders.com

Just two years after the arrival of the railroad, a couple of mines had been established in the town. And by 1863, a total of five different operations were engaged in hauling out the buried coal. Then eventually, a man named Alexander Rae founded Centralia in 1866, and the settlement looked set to boom thanks to its valuable natural resources.

Image: Jules Tavernier

But just two years later, tragedy struck. Rae was apparently murdered, and many laid the blame on the Molly Maguires – a clandestine group that had been brought to the U.S. by Irish workers. However, some people believed the Maguires had been framed by local employers who feared the unionization of employees.

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Image: Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper

But although three people were executed for the crime, violence continued to plague Centralia. In 1869, for instance, a local priest was allegedly attacked by the Molly Maguires. And according to folklore, the clergyman consequently exacted his vengeance by placing a curse on the land, claiming that one day only the town’s church would remain standing.

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